1 minute read

Eric Newby (George Eric Newby) Biography

(1919–2006), (George Eric Newby), The Last Grain Race, Love and War in the Appenines, Something Wholesale

British travel writer, born in London, educated at St Paul's School. After two years with an advertising agency he became an apprentice seaman on a Finnish sailing-vessel in 1938; his experiences at this time form the basis of The Last Grain Race (1956). In 1939 he began a period of active service in the Second World War; from 1942 to 1945 he was a prisoner of war in Italy, an interlude reflected in Love and War in the Appenines (1971). He subsequently worked in the fashion industry, an occupation described in Something Wholesale (1962), and as a publicist with a London publisher before becoming travel editor with the Observer in 1964. The casual elegance and ironic wit integral to Newby's style do not diminish the lyrical profundity of his descriptions or his capacity for evoking the emotional and philosophical dimensions of his travels. A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush (1958), his most celebrated, and perhaps his most insistently humorous, work, recounts an adventurous and inadequately equipped journey to Nuristan. Slowly down the Ganges (1966), describing an expedition on which he was accompanied by his wife Wanda, and The Big Red Train Ride (1978), his account of the Trans-Siberian railway, are among his other notable books. His publications also include Great Ascents (1977), a history of mountaineering informed by his own enthusiasm for the activity; On the Shores of the Mediterranean (1984); and What the Traveller Saw (1989), a collection of photographs taken on his travels. A Traveller's Life, Newby's vividly anecdotal autobiography, appeared in 1982.

Additional topics

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Mr Polly to New France